Hospital infections and errors are real dangers for both hospital patients and visitors. This article will discuss how patients and visitors can protect themselves from infections and staff errors. Just as preppers prepare for natural disasters, such as epidemics, they also must also prepare for hospital stays and even for visits to loved ones in the hospital.
What could possibly go wrong during a hospital stay or visit? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes a conservative estimate that each year about 1.7 million patients get hospital acquired infections, and some of those infections are from superbugs that resist antibiotics.
A Health and Human Services study of Medicare patients reported that one in seven Medicare patients suffered serious or long-term injuries, or died because of hospital staff errors. They also determined that 44 percent of the errors were preventable. Furthermore, the report estimated that hospital staffs did not report 86 percent of the errors that caused harm to patients.
Everyone should try to be as healthy as possible before entering a hospital. That means having their body weight under control, abstaining from addictions such as smoking, and trying to avoid diseases such as diabetes, or at least having them under control. A strong immune system will help to protect patients when they are in the hospital.
Patients must be more involved in their healthcare. If they are not feeling well enough to do so, they should ask trusted friends or relatives to spend time with them in the hospital and to be their advocates. When entering the hospital, patients should give the staff a list of the patients’ medications, the doctors they are seeing, and the phone numbers of these doctors.
Patients and advocates should monitor the hospital staff. Patients and advocates should make sure that doctors and nurses wash their hands before any examinations. Patients also should wash their own hands after using the bathroom or after handling soiled materials. Patients should have bottles of hand wash next to their beds. Patients should ask friends and relatives not to visit when these friends and relatives are not feeling well.
Patients should not hesitate to be involved in their care. When questions arise, patients should write them down in their notebooks. If patients feel that they are being ignored or not treated well by doctors or nurses, patients should document these behaviors in their notebooks. Many hospitals have on staff a patient advocate with whom patients can consult. Patients should not be afraid to insist upon good care. Each week, as many as forty American doctors operate on either the wrong patient or on the wrong body part. Patients do not want to become one of the 100,000 Americans who die in hospitals each year from preventable medical mistakes. Patients should become involved in their own health care, and they should support legislative efforts to reform the administration and running of hospitals.